While activities on the Antarctic continent start to get really underway, the tourism season in the waters just off shore start to ramp up too. The past few years, that has meant a series of high profile problems with cruise ships running aground, and in one case, sinking to the bottom of the sea. This season is off to an auspicious start, as Jon Bowermaster tells us in his blog today that another ship, an ice breaker no less, is already trapped in the ice.
The ship is called the Captain Khlebnikov, and it carries about 100 passengers, mostly British. So far, the company that manages the ship has said that it is merely slowed by the heavy ice in the region, and that it is in no danger, despite the fact that it really can’t go anywhere at the moment. The Finnish-built, Russian operated icebreaker continues to conduct helicopter tours and business is as usual, while it wait for the weather to change, allowing it to go on it’s usual course, which takes it through the ice-filled Weddell Sea.
Heavy ice isn’t especially uncommon this early into the tourist season, as conditions are still quite cold there. But as more and more people flock to the area, the amount of traffic amongst that ice is increasing, which has led some of us to believe that it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of danger in this recent incident, at least not at the moment, but it does serve to underscore the dangers of traveling in the waters at the bottom of the world.
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